Changed Actual Finishes

“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.”

- Unknown

Quick summary: This check is identical to the previous test (06A504a), except actual finish dates are checked instead of actual starts.

In this check, DCMA is checking for the practice – okay, the malpractice – of changing actual dates after they’ve been reported.

What’s the purpose of this check?

This particular test comes down to trust. Suppose you’re the customer, and your contractor submits schedules once a month showing they’re hitting most of their dates in the plan. In the real world, when you inspect the interim deliverables, you find that many of the milestones claimed to have been hit were missed. Further, when you look at the latest submitted schedule, you find that some actual dates were undone or changed; they’re different from the copy that was sent to you.

Your trust level in the accuracy of the schedules you’re receiving would go down significantly, right? For DCMA, this is a quick and easy test to make sure that actual dates are treated as recorded history.

They look at the set of tasks in the previous month’s schedule that had an actual finish date. They calculate the percentage of those tasks that had their actual finish value change in the current month’s schedule.

Why is the acceptable threshold (10%) so high?

All schedules have data entry mistakes or miscommunications; those happen from time to time. On the other hand, if 10% or more of the actual finishes changed, we’re talking about something else in play; there’s a pattern or system of misreporting. Again, it comes down to trust.

Next steps

Begin by selecting a few of the tasks where the actual finish changed and investigate the root cause of the changed dates. If this check failed and more than 10% of the actuals have changed, it’s important to correct the process that allows this to occur.

14 Point Analyzer